Knock Three Times!
Caesars Circuit Event Attracts another Huge Field as 1,050 Players Register
Atlantic City, NJ – This has been a great week for Todd Rebello. The 46-year-old retail store owner from Oak Bluffs, MA just made his third consecutive final table appearance at a major poker tournament, this time cashing for $75,600 in prize money. Rebello, who owns four stores on Martha’s Vineyard, began his week by playing in an event at the Foxwoods Casino, where he ended up as one of the nine finalists. After a drive to Atlantic City the next day, Rebello arrived here just in time for the first event of the WSOP Circuit series at Caesars, where he took third place amongst a massive field of 1,056 players. Then, the third time proved to be a real charm for Rebello. Tonight’s win in the $300 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament marked a poker trifecta, first place amongst yet another massive field of entries.
The was the second time in three days that a World Series of Poker Circuit event attracted in excess of one-thousand players. Event #1 at Caesars attracted 1,056 entries. Today’s event fell just short of that high mark, as 1,050 players registered, creating a prize pool totaling $315,000.
After 1,041 players were eliminated on the first day and a half of play, the nine finalists took their seats the feature table. Held inside the special events ballroom on the second floor of the luxurious Atlantic City gemstone called Caesars, New Jersey’s Doug Slomka arrived with a decisive chip lead – more than 2 to 1 over his closest competitor, Rebello. Little did anyone know at the time that Rebello and Slomka would ultimately end up facing each other for the championship. Players and starting chip counts began as follows:
Seat 1: Todd “Tin Cup” Rebello 651,000
Seat 2: Doug Slomka 1,438,000
Seat 3: Jason Morman 175,000
Seat 4: Sonny Lusha 361,000
Seat 5: Greg Antolick 467,000
Seat 6: Michael Dentale 201,000
Seat 7: Anthony Bogan 229,000
Seat 8: Rupert Jones 480,000
Seat 9: Christine Wilson 191,000
From the first hand of play, the action was fast and furious. Players were eliminated in the following order:
9th Place – Chip leader Doug Slomka took an early beat when he lost about a third of his stack on the final table’s very first hand. Anthony Bogan doubled up immediately with A-K versus 8-8 when a king flopped. That equalized the chips somewhat and changed the dynamics of a big stack potentially overpowering the table.
A few hands later, Michael P. Dentale busted out on a bad beat. He moved all-in with A-K, and was called by Todd Rebello with K-7. Essentially drawing to three outs, Rebello was thrilled to see a seven flop, rocketing him into the lead. Two blanks on the turn and river sealed Dentale’s fate, a ninth-place finish. The Brooklyn home improvement specialist, who has a number of final table appearances and in-the-money finishes in the Atlantic City area, nailed down $6,300 in prize money.
8th Place – Moments later, Jason Morman was eliminated. Low on chips, he pushed in with 5-5 and was called instantly by Rupert Jones, with 10-10. Right away, Morman knew he was in trouble. He failed to improve which meant an eighth-place finish. The 24-year-old day trader from North Caldwell, NJ added $9,450 to his investment portfolio.
7th Place – Just 20 minutes into play, the third poker casualty hit the rail when Christine Wilson, a computer programmer from North Carolina, was disconnected with what had started out as the superior hand. On a day filled with tough beats, Wilson moved all-in with 9-9 and was called by Anthony Bogan, the beneficiary of an early rush of good cards. Bogan showed the rather unremarkable Q-3, a pleasing sight to Wilson and her band of supporters in the crowd. When a queen fell on the turn, Wilson’s dream of becoming the first female to win a WSOP Circuit event in Atlantic City was shattered. Bogan ended up winning the 230,000 pot, and Wilson was done. Christine Wilson, the second female to appear at a final table in two days at this year’s Caesars’ series, earned $12,600 for seventh place. Wilson also managed to cash in the 2006 WSOP main event – impressively finishing 193rd out of 8,870 players.
6th Place – The day did not go well for Greg Antolick. The Albany, NY project manager failed to win any hand of significance during his short stay in the limelight. On his final hand of the tournament, Antolick was dealt A-Q. He was all-in against Anthony Bogan, holding J-J. Antolick failed to connect with any of the board cards and was forced to exit in sixth place. This was Greg Antolick’s first-ever WSOP-related event. He received $15,750 in prize money, quite an accomplishment for a first-time player.
5th Place – Rupert Jones also went card dead at the worst possible time of the tournament. His chips were slowly bled away and he was all-in with 9-9 in a three-way pot on what turned out to be his final hand of the night. The final board showed 6-6-2-Q-J. Jones showed his middle pair, while Todd Rebello sheepishly flipped over 8-6, good for trip sixes. Another player was done. Rupert Jones, originally from London, England is a father of four. The 44-year-old investor now living in Mendham, NJ collected $18,900 for fifth place.
4th Place – Just an hour into play, over half the final table had been eliminated. As aggressive play slowed down a bit, Anthony Bogan took his first serious loss of the day when his A-9 ran into a sledgehammer -- Todd Rebello’s two aces. The pocket rockets held up, giving Rebello the chip lead for the first time. Meanwhile, Bogan was left to fester in fourth chip position, of four players remaining.
Sadly for Bogan, the dam had already burst and he was about to get carried away. Just a few hands later, Bogan was dealt A-K and moved all-in. Doug Slomka called and showed 10-10. The final board showed Q-Q-3-8-8 giving Slomka the higher two pair – queens and tens. Bogan, certainly experienced the most interesting adrenaline rush of anyone of the final nine, going from lowest in chips to near the chip lead, to eventual elimination, all within 90 minutes. The postal worker from Philadelphia ended up as the fourth-place finisher, worth $22,050 in prize money.
3rd Place – Sonny Lusha was the quietest of any player at the final table. He won just enough pots to remain in contention, yet never committed his stack nor was at risk of being eliminated. But when play was three-handed, an ace flopped and Lusha’s inconspicuous strategy came to end when he was all in with A-3 against Todd Rebello’s A-4. Many times with top-pair-low kickers, the board counterfeits the secondary card and the pots are split. But the counterfeiters turned out to be a nightmare for Lusha as the final board showed A-8-7-6-5. The kicker no longer mattered, but Rebello’s four made him a straight, giving him the sizable pot. Meanwhile, Sonny Lusha was forced to accept defeat and a third-place finish. The construction supervisor from Staten Island, NY earned $25,200 in prize money.
2nd Place – Perhaps it was fitting that the two chip leaders coming into the start of the finals would end up squaring off for the championship. When heads-up play began, Todd Rebello enjoyed about a 5 to 4 chip lead over Doug Slomka. The finalists battled for about 20 minutes, without many chips changing hands. When the final hand of the tournament was dealt, Rebello maintained his slight chip lead.
On the final hand, Rebello was dealt A-5. Slomka was dealt J-10. Rebello raised before the flop and Slomka called. After the flop came A-J-6 Slomka checked and Rebello (with top pair) moved all-in. Slomka thought for a long time and then finally decided to call (with second pair). When the cards were tables, Slomka was distraught at having made the wrong judgment. Two blanks on the river sealed the victory for Rebello, leaving Slomka to wonder what went wrong.
After the tournament, Rebello explained that he was confident moving all-in after Slomka’s post-flop check. “I was not surprised that he called (with a pair of jacks), because he had been playing so aggressively all day,” he said. “I sat with Slomka to my immediate left four times in this tournament and (with his big stack as a threat) I think that forced me to play a stronger game.”
Doug Slomka ended up as the second-place finisher. The 48-year-old Bridgewater, NJ business analyst was paid $42,540.
1st Place – Todd “Tin Cup” Rebello earned his biggest poker payday ever. In a brief post-tournament ceremony, he was presented with the gold and diamond WSOP Circuit winner’s ring, awarded to all champions at this year’s Caesars Atlantic City series. When asked how he got his unusual nickname, sometimes associated with golf, Rebello was philosophical.
“I got this name because I just keep going and going, no matter what happens,” he said. “Some people say it is stubbornness. But (like the central figure in the movie “Tin Cup” staring Kevin Costner) it doesn’t matter if I hit the ball into the water twenty straight times. Eventually, I am going to get it on the green. And the same goes for poker.”
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